World leaders meet at the United Nations with the participation of Iraq

Leaders of world countries, including Iraq, are meeting at the United Nations this week, in light of geopolitical tensions that have been greatly exacerbated by the Ukraine war, amid Russia and China competing on one side with the United States and Europe on the other, to gain the support of developing countries.

According to a report followed by the National Iraqi News Agency (NINA), Russia’s war in Ukraine will be the focus again at the annual gathering in New York, which Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will personally attend for the first time since the start of the conflict.

The concerns of the southern hemisphere top the agenda of the meetings this year, and the focus on this issue comes to some extent as a reflection of the increasing interest of Western countries in developing countries to ensure their support in efforts to isolate Russia.

The focus in several high-level meetings during the General Assembly is on the priorities of developing countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia, namely climate, health, development financing, and how to put the “sustainable development goals” on the right track.

“This is a year in which countries in the southern hemisphere set the agenda,” said Richard Gowan, Director of the UN International Crisis Group.

He continued, “Non-Western countries seized this moment very effectively.”

He added, “I think they took advantage of the fact that they knew that the United States on one side and Russia on the other wanted to gain their support.”

The Ukraine war is just one reason to focus on developing countries. Over the past decade, China has pumped hundreds of billions of dollars in loans for urgent infrastructure projects, as part of its Belt and Road Initiative, which has been criticized for burdening many countries with massive debts.

The United States and its allies recently began attempts to counter China’s growing influence by pledging funds in the form of development and climate aid.

Before the New York meetings, diplomats acknowledged their focus on developing countries, but denied suggestions that competition played a role.

The US Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, described the General Assembly gathering as an opportunity for small countries to “present their priorities to us,” and that she did not view the matter “as a competition between great powers.”

China’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Zhang Jun, said that Beijing “has no intention of competing with others” and that the country, as its situation improves, “is willing to do more in return for developing countries, but we are not competing.”

Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations, Vasily Nebenzia, also stressed that Moscow “is not trying to win over anyone.”

He added, “We are just who we are, and we will not make our friendship with anyone conditional on them standing on our side and doing what we want, unlike some of our colleagues here who are twisting their arms.”

Source: National Iraqi News Agency